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5 ways to get your design work used across the organization

  • ✏️ This article was written by Nate Holmes and sponsored by our friends at Widen, an Acquia company

A lot goes into creative work. Sure, there’s the actual time a designer spends designing. But there’s also time spent concepting, aligning with business goals, gaining approval, and so much more. If the output ends up being a single-use design, it means you’re likely not getting as much out of your efforts as you could be.

Using creative work in multiple ways accelerates workflows by giving teams access to approved, high-quality content.

Finding ways to make your design work available for other teams to use, reuse, and repurpose creates endless opportunities to get more value from your creative investment. Using creative work in multiple ways reduces time spent on overlapping efforts, frees up designers to focus on more meaningful projects, and accelerates workflows by giving teams access to approved, high-quality content.

Extending the reach of your creative content

When content is stored on hard drives and in Google folders, accessing it isn’t always easy — especially if it lacks an organization strategy. Typically, designers can find what they need but it’s rare that other team members will know where to look. Sound familiar?

Then there’s the struggle of accessing file formats created in design software — like TIFF, .ai, or .psd files. Without the right tools to open these files, forget about being about to use them. And if someone uses a design file on a PowerPoint slide, the resulting file size will be so large that opening it will be painfully slow.

To navigate these cumbersome issues, many teams turn to a digital asset management (DAM) solution. A DAM platform offers secure, streamlined access to creative files making them easy to find, and in turn, easy to use.

Let’s explore five ways a DAM system can help expand the use of your creative content across your organization.

1. Provide secure access to creative in a centralized location

Access is really the first step in broadening the use of your creative work. If people can’t find it, there’s no way they’ll be able to use it. Keeping all of your files in a centralized location means that teams will have access to what they need, when they need it. And security settings — including asset groups, user roles, and permission — ensure that every user can only access assets they are authorized to use.

Putting files in a cloud-based library also means that global workflows won’t have delays across time zones. Users can easily find and use content on their own via searchable metadata. And the issue with using design files on PowerPoint slides? No problem. Users can also convert content on the fly into the required file format.


2. Reuse and repurpose content

Creating something that’s one and done is not a great feeling. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring it to life on a new channel? Consider an image that was created for a blog article. Perhaps it could also be used in a presentation, or inspire a new website graphic.

Being able to reuse and repurpose existing creative content empowers team members by providing them with content they can source themselves. For example, using an existing asset as inspiration during a creative kickoff can provide clarity around the ask and be a jumping-off point for the new design — instead of starting from scratch.

Being able to reuse and repurpose existing creative content empowers team members by providing them with content they can source themselves.

By keeping content in a DAM system you not only see what’s available but also capture how and when it can be used by leveraging descriptive metadata that includes right and release information. So you can encourage usage compliance no matter who’s using your content.


3. Expand creative visibility with integrations

Jumping between programs is annoying at best — and an opportunity for inconsistency at worst. But if information is synced across systems, these hassles can be avoided. Integrating the tools you use the most will streamline workflows and keep content consistent.

Getting your work out into the world requires a lot of tools and teams. Integrating your DAM library with creative solutions like Adobe Creative Cloud, Figma, Sketch, and Canva means that you can search for and access files in your central source of truth without leaving your design program of choice, keeping designers focused in one tool.

Then when it’s time to distribute your work across channels, integrations with a content management system (CMS), ad platform, social media tool, and more, mean that non-designers can access the files they need quickly and be confident they’re using the most recent version.


4. Use portals to share curated access to content

Not everyone needs access to everything. And user license costs can add up quickly. Not to mention training everyone on how to use the tools. Using portals to distribute curated sets of content can be the perfect answer.

A portal provides users with a branded experience and designers with an easy way to share their work.

A portal provides users with a branded experience and designers with an easy way to share their work. They’re often used for ad campaigns, product launches, vendor-specific assets, and more. Being able to share a single link to multiple assets makes it easier for teams to self-serve and eliminates tedious distribution tasks for designers.


5. Create on-brand, easy-to-update templates

Do you ever receive simple, copy-paste requests such as updating a file with a new image or different logos? Using a template can empower colleagues without design skills to make simple updates while allowing designers to maintain brand control.

With Templates, materials like one-pagers, brochures, catalogs, store signage, digital ads, and social tiles can all be customized based on selected editable fields. Update text, change photos, swap logos — but only with the content designers have pre-selected. This makes it easier for teams to stay on brand and takes some of the heavy lifting off of the creative team.


As your creative work expands, so does the need for brand management

Amazing! Now your work is on its way to being used by more teams. Doesn’t it feel great? But as your creative reach expands, so does the room for error.

We’ve all been there. As work pressures build, processes and brand checks can be one of the first things to slip. That’s why automating some of the brand management is critical.

Implementing a governance strategy around who should have access to what content is a big part of maintaining control over creative work that is used widely. Using configurable permission settings within a DAM system automates access across channels, teams, partners, and regions so it doesn’t fall on the designers to keep tabs on their work. And as your business grows, these permissions can be set at scale to adhere not only to usage terms but also to organizational security protocols.

Get your design work out there!

There you have it! Five ways you can extend the use of your creative work within your organization. If you’re already using a DAM system, take a look at your processes to see if you’re using these methods to maximize the potential of your creative work.

If you’re not using a DAM platform just yet, we’ve got you covered too. Learn more about the features and benefits of a DAM solution and if you want to see ours in action, check out our on-demand demo. ■

About Widen, an Acquia company: Widen helps brands get their content organized. Their cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) software helps marketing, sales, and e-commerce teams find what they need, coordinate workflows, and publish content from a central source. Trusted by more than 800 companies and one million users worldwide, Widen boasts a 20-year track record of DAM innovation and customer success.

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